The bonobo, Pan paniscus, is an Endangered species of primate endemic to the Democratic Republic of Congo, and found only in the dense, equatorial forests south of the Congo River. Its historic range is estimated to have been around 565,000 km², but the species is now severely threatened, particularly by poaching and the commercial bushmeat trade, even though the killing or capturing of bonobos for any purpose is against national and international laws.
For the past three decades, research and conservation organizations have been supporting the government of the DRC in its efforts to protect these unique great apes. Unfortunately, institutional, social and economic decline, combined with the turmoil created by recent wars, have meant that bonobos are under increasing pressure as urban and rural human populations engage in the unsustainable exploitation of natural resources. This has resulted in the elimination of wildlife from vast expanses of rainforest and in the dramatic reduction of suitable habitat.
Citation: IUCN & ICCN (2012). Bonobo (Pan paniscus): Conservation Strategy 2012–2022. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group & Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature. 65 pp.